Responce: A few questions about ordination
It is very hard to respond to open ended or general questions without knowing the person you are responding to. That said…
I think monastic life is the antithesis of multitasking. I am a very good driver, i excel at taking in lots of information, filtering it down, prioritizing it and making a decision, quickly. This ability helps me a lot in worldly things, but very little in spirituality. In fact i find that this is one of the greater antagonists to my meditation. When meditating we are letting go of this way of operation, ideally allowing the mind to rest on one single object, then with time, developing the ability to analyze it. This analysis is very important but it is not something that is rushed, as compared to driving where responding quickly is most important.
Ajhan Chah describes the difference between these two (concentration and analysis, respectively), paraphrasing of course:
When focusing the mind, one sits crossed legged, back strait, hands resting in the lap, relaxes the mind and watching the breath moving in and out.
when developing analysis, one sits crossed legged, back strait, hands resting in the lap, relaxes the mind, watching the breath moving in and out and then asks “who is breathing”.
Nowhere in this process is urgency useful.
This pertains more to meditation then to being a monk. I only answer this way because a monk is devoting themselves to just this way of finding happiness. I am presuming that the reader agrees with my characterization of how a monk ardently seeks enlightenment and that this is the type of monk you are referring to.
As to college. I dont think anyone can answer this for you. However, Have large debt has prevented many aspiring monks and nuns from ordaining. By the time it is paid of a person is so entrenched in the material world that it becomes quite unlikely they will ordain without some type of external circumstance creating great upheaval. I would NEVER recommend this to someone who wished to be a monastic. For most people, on an emotional level, it is not an issue it return to college later in there life, if fact for many it is seen as a great pastime. But Deciding to become a monk on the other hand is extremely difficult, and unless one is intentionally cultivating a life of simplicity (such as living in a monastery) it is highly unlikely (statistically speaking).
Now for the other side. This argument is short, not because it is weaker but because the depth of meaning is greater. It may be best to continue in college because it is the right thing to do. That’s all.
Let me explain. Life is not so simple, well i should say setient beings are not so simple. For example: Severe alcoholics cannot just be turned around by the right external circumstance. They need to find the place inside where they can make the change. Some people do this after there first year or two. Others binge drink for 20 or 30 years. Either way a drunk has to “hit rock bottom” to find the place where it is no longer an option to drink, before they can change.
I am not disparaging a worldly life by comparing it to being an alcoholic. On the contrary i believe the example of a drunk is useful throughout life. Most all the choices we make, whether lay person or monastic, are made just like a drunks. We are all addicted to pleasure and happiness. Sometimes we pursue the life of a monastic with this same mentality, and if that is what is happening then we might just be better of living a simple lay life. Maybe one day, as a layperson, we decide that we might as well be a monk or nun, that we would be more useful as a monastic, then good, go ordain. Maybe we realize that we are more useful as a layperson, then good. Life is about learning how to be of benefit.
The important this is to make a desision for the right reason, if we do that then there are no wrong choices. If we make a “wrong” choice for the “right” reason then we learn from it, and that is what is important, learning to understand the mind and the world. Suffering is not the enemy, it is just the cane that strikes us. Ignorance is the driver wielding the cane.
That may seem a bit off topic, but the question of college comes up often. When a person is ready of a spiritual way of life then the questions fade and we know what to do, not the other way around. Living a simple life is necessary to allow this growth, that is why i think everyone, not just aspiring monastics, should live in a controlled environment like a monastery for a year or so.
As to being gay. Well… its irrelevant.
I mean if you wish to make it an issue it can be. But so can being to tall or too short or too fat or too blonde or too smart or too compulsive or whatever else. Yes, being gay and becoming a monk has its own unique challenges but no more then being strait. There are MANY monks who were homosexual before they ordained. One of my good friends says, “i used to be a homosexual, now i am a no-mo-sexual”. and that is just right. Monks and nuns still have sexual urges, hence the whole celibacy thing.
I guess the point is that we are all human with our own quirks. You are no more uniqe than I am. We are all differant and in that way we are all the same.
I am pretty sure our individuality is not a fundamental block to our growth. Actually i would venture to say that this belief, is our greatest hindrance.
A few questions about ordination
I was wondering, for some reason I haven’t been able to learn to drive (I’m 23, one of my quirks). I don’t think it’s so much out of fear as much as it is an problem with taking in so much information and once and multitasking. Would you say that it would be a necessity in a monastic setting?
I also have not qone to college yet. Linguistics interests me, but I don’t want mounting college expenses to keep me from becoming a monk as soon as possible. What do you think?
And on a more personal note, I’m gay and I know that while traditional scriptures aren’t against someone like me, monastically it’s not entirely supported.
I would love to hear your opinions!
Hope you’re doing well!
pondernlife asked: How may I find your tattoo artist in san diego? I really would like to visit his shop.
It does done by a good friend. His name is Keegan. He is working at Mums Tattoo’s in Pacific Beach. He is really a great artist. I decided on some of the peramiters and left everything else up to him.
I spread the word about her home and asked if anyone wished to join me for the 10 day break. A few people RSVP yes so we looked into getting a rental car. After a far too long on the phone the final quote was about $1000 for one week! Well i said ’ “We could buy a car for that price!” 10 minutes and a little craigslisting later we were on our way. ‘90 Taurus station wagon, full polyester interior and all of the doors work (except that one on the back right, oh and the trunk.) Little rear end damage, “What happened?” … “Oh, it was front ended.” … “What does that mean?” … “They backed into the front of someones car.” … “Oh, that’s quint”
So, we made it to my moms. Been here a few days, relaxing, taking walks up the mountain, riding the horse etc. Sophie and Noe from France are enjoying it also. Sophie said it was like paradise when we arrived and i must admit i felt it too.
We just passed through Albaquerque. Got to rest a while there. Yesterday we walked 20 miles. We are getting close to Oklahoma, 10 day break near OKC. I will catch a bus to my moms to the east and wait there. Hopefully everyone can stay at my moms when the walk comes through.
High planes drifter.
I am in Apache country now. We are around 7000 feet. It is stil a struggle to go with the flow, but I think I am gettining better, and the group is getting a bit more organized. Yesterday we were up at four only to wait till eight for breakfast. We stood in a circle untill 9:15. Then we walked 15 miles and had “lunch” when we finished at 4:30. Afterward we alll hopped in the vehicles and drove an hour to the afternoon snack at 5:30 but we could only stay a half an hour or so, which was mostly spent waiting for the praying to be done. Then we drove another 2 and a half hours to the church we were going to sleeping, it was locked. So we waited some more, then they unlocked it and had another meal ready for us. No food for 7 hours of walking, then three meals in four hours, my body does not know what to do. Sweat lodge tonight. The darkness and signing, the copal, sweetgrass, sage and tabacco, oh and the heat, should straighten me out.